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Germany, Norway place A330 MRTT order
A330 MRTT. © Airbus DS

Germany, Norway place A330 MRTT order

Airbus Defence and Space has received a firm order for five Airbus A330 MRTT aircraft under the European/NATO Multinational Multi-Role Tanker Transport Fleet (MMF) programme.

Airbus Defence and Space has received a firm order for five Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transports (MRTT) from Europe’s organisation for the management of cooperative armament programmes (OCCAR) on behalf of NATO Support & Procurement Agency (NSPA) and funded by Germany and Norway.

The order follows the announcement on 29 June of a Memorandum of Understanding under which the two nations would join Netherlands and Luxembourg in the European/NATO Multinational Multi-Role Tanker Transport Fleet (MMF) programme. The initiative is designed to address European capability gaps through pooling and sharing of assets.

A contract amendment signed at OCCAR headquarters in Bonn, Germany on 25th September adds five aircraft to the two previously ordered by Netherlands and Luxembourg and includes four additional options to enable other nations to join the grouping. It also comprises two years of initial support.

The programme is funded by the four nations who will have the exclusive right to operate these NATO–owned aircraft in a pooling arrangement. The aircraft will be configured for in-flight refuelling, passenger and cargo transportation, and medical evacuation flights. They will be operated by a multinational unit from the Main Operating Base (MOB) in Eindhoven (NLD) and Forward Operating Base (FOB) in Cologne, Germany.

The first two aircraft have already been ordered to be delivered from Airbus Defence and Space’s tanker conversion line at Getafe near Madrid and all seven are expected to be handed over between 2020 and 2022.

The European Defence Agency (EDA) initiated the MMF programme in 2012. OCCAR manages the MMF acquisition phase as Contract Executing Agent on behalf of NSPA. Following the acquisition phase, NSPA will be responsible for the complete life-cycle management of the fleet.

The UK already operates its own fleet of A330 MRTT Voyagers (14 aircraft, not fitted with centre refuelling boom) while France has ordered nine aircraft out of a planned total of 12.

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